The Find: June 2011 Edition

Posted on | June 21, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Auchentoshan 1998 FATHER’S CHOICE 

For dads craving the smooth stuff, look no further than the new release of Auchentoshan Single Malt Lowland Scotch Whisky. He’s sure to be impressed by this limited-edition 1998 vintage–there are only 750 bottles available in the U.S–triple distilled and matured in sherry casks.

www.auchentoshan.com

 

Figenza MEDITERRANEAN-STYLE MIXING 

Bartenders are falling for Figenza, the vodka made with real Mediterranean figs.  In a recent episode of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, even Morimoto used it in his fig and sake martini creation. To inspire experimental home mixologists, the brand launched its drink-of-the-month campaign, featuring libations such as the “Lychee Figtini” and “Sunny Peach” with gin, kiwi puree,cranberry juice and sour mix.

www.figenza.com

Great Wines Under 20 BARGAIN BUYS 

Customers don’t have to forego their summer vacation plans just to buy wine. Great Wines Under $20, the new book (Krause Publications) from auctioneer, appraiser and historian Elyse Luray, guides readers through this biggest–and attractive–segment of the wine market.

www.elyseluray.com

I Spirit FROM FRIULI 

Synonymous with luxurious wine and amaros, Italy may soon be known for its vodka, too. A quartet of Italian tastemakers–Arrigo Cipriani of the renowned Harry’s Bar, Lapo Elkann of FIAT and two Friulian master distillers, Marco Fantinel andFrancesco Cosulich–introduce I Spirit Vodka. Fivetimes-distilled, it’s made with white grapes and grains from the Friuli region, along with water from the Dolomites.

www.ispiritvodka.com

Lush Life THE OBSERVER 

This month, Jill DeGroff, aka King Cocktail’s wife, releases Series II of Lush Life:  Portraits From the Bar, a collection of whimsical illustrations, recipes and saloon tales dedicated to “Cocktailians Around the World.”

www.kingcocktail.com

San Diego Spirits Festival WEST COAST PARTY 

San Diego is ramping up its reputation as a mixology haven with the third annual San Diego Spirits Festival, June 25th and 26th, set on Port Pavilion Pier on Broadway. The brainchild of Liz Edwards, the festival is jam-packed with tastings, seminars, cocktail competitions and, of course, glitzy VIP after-parties.

www.SanDiegoSpiritsFestival.com

An Industry Gathers: The 68th Annual WSWA Convention Convenes in Orlando

Posted on | June 16, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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WSWA Orlando EventFrom April 9th-12th, approximately 1,900 industry members–including 120 exhibitors–gathered in Orlando to attend the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention. Highlights throughout the three-day event included speakers: Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico; General Stanley McChrystal, a former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan; and Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (2010).

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Retailing Means Retooling: Smart Wine Merchants are Not Standing Pat

Posted on | June 16, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Retailing Means RetoolingIf Charles Dickens were in the wine business today, perhaps he would agree that these are the best of times and the worst of times. The economic downturn, now well into its third year, hangs heavily on consumer confidence. And yet the wine market continues to grow impressively, with the U.S. recently marking its 18th straight year of growth and officially earning the title (albeit largely symbolic) of #1 wine-drinking country in the world.

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Pucker Up: Beam Global Introduces Playful New Line of Flavored Vodka

Posted on | June 16, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Pucker Up VodkaSuper-premium Effen Vodka, and its black cherry and cucumber iterations, have struck a chord with fashion-savvy consumers. Now Beam Global Spirits & Wine is further capitalizing upon the explosive flavored vodka trend with a new line: Pucker.

“Pucker is a high-end vodka with a social, fun-loving aspect,” notes Kim Washington, senior director. “The growth of flavored vodka is apparent, and we really saw an opportunity to expand on the flavor expertise of Pucker Cordials.”

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Prosecco’s Bubble Not Bursting: America’s love affair with the Italian sparkler influences the category’s stellar growth.

Posted on | June 16, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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ProseccoProsecco’s flute runneth over. In 2009, its sales in the U.S. rose by an astounding 32% over the previous year, and the growth continued in 2010, fueled by familiar brands like Mionetto, which corners 30% of the market. The classic Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore classification was kicked up a notch in 2009 to the highest Italian rating, DOCG, and the first of those wines were released this April. Furthermore, the prestigious Italian Wine Masters tour of the U.S. earlier this year was anchored by the three classic Tuscan Sangiovese regions–Chianti, Brunello and Vino Noble–and Prosecco was the only white or sparkling wine being poured.

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In A New York Moment: Empire State Wines Rise in Quality, Interest–and Sales

Posted on | June 16, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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New York State WinesIn April, Kelly Urbanik, winemaker of Macari Vineyards on Long Island’s North Fork, headed west to Williamsburg to pour Merlots and Sauvignon Blancs and discuss the winery’s sustainability initiatives to a throng of curious oenophiles. The evening was the latest installment of Brooklyn Winery’s New York State Winemaker Series, created to introduce New York-made wines–and the stories and people behind them–to city residents. “We are a New York winery; it is our responsibility to support New York winemaking. A night here brings these winemakers to a market they might not have been able to access before,” shares Brooklyn Winery co-founder Brian Leventhal.

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Worth the Upgrade: It’s Time to Elevate Your Beer Program

Posted on | June 16, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Restaurant Beer ProgramFor many restaurants, beer often gets overshadowed by the wines and spirits components of the beverage program–a few bottles, a few drafts, something “lite”; re-order as needed. But today more and more guests are asking for something more, expecting a bit of the range and diversity exhibited in today’s marketplace. Craft beer and specialty bottlings are no longer the preserve of select bars.

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Brand Profile: The Lighter Side: Master of Mixes Introduces Low-Calorie Cocktail Mixers

Posted on | June 2, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Master of MixesFor years, Americans have been eating low-calorie versions of their favorite foods, but it’s only recently their desire for lighter cocktails has been quenched. American Beverage Marketers (ABM), known for its liquid cocktail mixes for bartenders and at-home cocktail enthusiasts alike, has tapped into the growing health-conscious trend by launching Master of Mixes Lite cocktail mixers. With only 20 or fewer calories, they are perfect for summer get-togethers. Read more

Modern-Tropical: An Interview with Christian Self of The Waikiki Edition Hotel

Posted on | June 2, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Christian SelfChristian Self, Bar Chef, The Waikiki Edition Hotel, Honolulu, HI

Touristy Waikiki may bring to mind sprawling resorts and fruity cocktails sipped amid ukulele music, but not at the much-buzzed Edition Hotel. This new urban resort, the brainchild of Ian Schrager, in partnership with Marriott International, is all about luxury and modern style. Christian Self, of the consultancy BarMagic of Las Vegas, a native of Liverpool, England, who is at the helm of the property’s four bars, has called Hawaii home for over a decade. After making a name for himself at hipster art-bar-club 39 Hotel, now he’s proving to guests there’s more to drinking Hawaii-style than a Piña Colada–unless it’s made with homemade horchata.

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An Interview with WSWA’s Bobby Harmelin, Executive Vice President, Allied Beverage Group, LLC and incoming WSWA President

Posted on | June 1, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Bobby Harmelin

The Beverage Network publishers sat down with Bobby Harmelin to discuss the CARE Act and the importance of making our industry’s voice heard in Washington.

TBN: As you prepare for your role as president of WSWA, what is the most important item on your agenda?

Bobby Harmelin: The most important thing I would like to accomplish is getting the CARE Act passed. I don’t know if it will be done in this calendar year, but hopefully within this Congress’ session. The act is about letting states have the right to control alcohol as it was mandated in the 21st Amendment.

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